Melodic death metal pioneers Dark Tranquillity had given their first show in Hong Kong in their 25-year career. On 16 March, Mikael Stanne & co had brought us a beautiful ,deadly glamorous evening with their 19-song set. For those who don’t know, Dark Tranquillity began in 1989 and is one of the most representable acts in the genre of blending death metal with melodic elements. As I lay Dying, Arch Enemy, Shadows Fall and Children of Bodom (who will come to town in May as well) are amongst those bands that were inspired by these Swedish rockers.
Photo Recap – Dark Tranquillity – Live in Hong Kong
The fast riffing from guitarist Niklas Sundin overlays with Martin Henriksson’s harmonic guitar lines created a hard-soft dynamic for Mikael Stanne’s brutal growling and clean vocals. The dramatic effect of the keyboard sound lightened up the whole set in live, making it like a gothic musical opera. It was absolutely unescapable! Having said that, the lighting killed all the imagination every 5 minutes. Basically the general lighting was turned on between songs when Stanne was greeting his fans. This writers didn’t think it’s necessary at all. Who would want to glimpse the one standing next to you in a gig but the performers you adored on stage? When the music was on again, the light dimmed out and everybody was falling into the Tranquillity’s darkness again.
Then it repeated.
The quirky weirdness of the animated projection brought an infectious impact to the audience which was a perfect backdrop for Dark Tranquillity’s music. It was a pure enjoyment for your eyes and ears. Yet, thanks to the awkward light stands right in front of the screen, the video was obstructed from beginning to end. It’s like there were two guys standing in front of your seat in the cinema – you just want to knock them out.
Besides these technical aspects and by judging the performance musically, the whole concert was like a solo showcase of Mikael Stanne. He remained very active throughout the night. A diehard fan brought a huge Swedish national flag with him / her and successfully passed it to Stanne. He looked THRILLED! to receive such a warm welcoming gift in the far East. Niklas Sundin’s solid guitar solo certainly brought another highlight of the night. Fast, accurate and arresting solo is the essential element of ANY metal music, especially in live performance. It was breathtaking. The set was composed of a diverse mix of songs – new materials like The Science of Noise, older hits Terminus and of course the anthemic Misery’ Crown.
Though it was not a massive crowd full of furious audience, the guys seemed to enjoy the show pretty much. And this writer can say, a HKD $280 ticket is definitely a valuable price to see these experienced metallers for 120 minutes.
Talent, innovation, experience and humbleness make good musicians. And they have it all.